Have you ever noticed how often your students are on their phones? Have you ever wished you could find ways to connect more frequently and on a deeper level with those in your ministry? Maybe you find yourself struggling to engage with and connect with people within your ministry outside of your gatherings. If you answered yes to any of those questions, this post is for you!
Since social media is not going away anytime soon, here are a few ways to use social media to increase your ministry effectiveness:
- Build your brand.
At a minimum, social media can be leveraged as a communications tool for your group. At the maximum, social media can go as far as becoming an evangelism and outreach tool. Today’s generation of college students and young adults are used to publishing and creating content. Chances are, someone in your ministry is into graphic design, photography, or videography. Think about it this way, our role as Ephesians 4 leaders is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. Some people are gifted in this area and are just dying to be asked. Consider these ways to create content that builds your brand:
- Create a logo or image that resonates with your target audience.
- Post updates during your events. Tell your audience what is happening during worship gatherings, Bible studies, sermons, outreach events, and more.
- Post pictures of small groups and serving in the community.
- Post a weekly or daily Bible verse.
- Follow other ministries and ministry leaders to learn ideas from them. If you see someone doing things really well, it may inspire unique ideas for you as well.
- Build community.
When social media first became a thing, it was all about personal profiles. After a while, there was a trend for nonprofits and companies alike to use “pages” instead of profiles. Currently, a lot of ministries are finding success in building their community by using group features on Facebook and Instagram. Before long, this trend will change as well.
Social media is constantly changing. We can’t get stuck in one way of using technology. Though our mission remains the same, our strategies must be flexible to change. One advantage we have in working with young adults is they are fluent in the digital world of technology. For this reason, we should never be far behind on the latest ideas.
Two ways to building community via social media include 1.) Promoting weekly meetings or events (comments, shares, and even paid ads) and 2.) Leverage group messages (Instagram) and group features (Facebook).
- Build interaction and engagement.
Each week has 168 hours in it. Even the most involved students will come to your ministry 5-10 hours per week (at most) for services, small groups, and events. Social media is one of the ways to create interaction outside the walls of your church or ministry. It’s one thing to post information only, but it’s another to ask a question in each post. You might also run a poll to find out what toppings people want at the ice cream party.
Two ways to interact and engage young adults with social media include:
- Invite people who are good at social media into the process. Our ministry has quarterly outreach events, and we wanted to leverage social media for promotion leading up to the event, create buzz at the event, and celebrate all God did after the event. We needed help running our accounts for this, and we found one person who had the most fun they’ve ever had by running our profiles. He did the best job at it, too!
- Use giveaways to create buzz. I’ve seen some ministries that will give away Starbucks for a year to one lucky person who RSVPs to the event on Facebook.
Now what? Some leaders will want to create a personal account and begin using it if they never have before. A second group might consider creating an account specifically for their ministry. Others will want to apply these principles to take their existing accounts to the next level.
We also want to hear from you. What ways have you seen social media impact your ministry? Which avenues of social media have you found most successful?
Josiah Kennealy is the young adults pastor at Cedar Valley Church in Bloomington, Minnesota. He and his wife, Micah lead the movement called Minnesota Young Adults. Josiah wrote his first book in 2017 called Debtless: Helping Students Take On Less Debt. He’s passionate about helping young people find Jesus, grow in their faith, become debt-free, and pursue their God-given dreams. Follow Josiah via Twitter: @JosiahKennealy